Against party line, Jaitley backs Delhi HC verdict on Section 377

In an interview with a private television channel on Thursday, the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said, ‘The BJP hasn’t closed its mind as a party on decriminalising homosexuality. There were divergent individual views within the party. And his own view was to support the Delhi high court verdict that had first removed the criminal tag from being gay.’

On 11 December 2013, the Supreme Court reinstated a ban on gay sex in the world’s largest democracy, following a four-year period of decriminalisation that had helped bring homosexuality into the open in socially conservative country.

In 2009 the Delhi high court ruled unconstitutional a section of the penal code dating back to 1860 that prohibits ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal’ and lifted the ban for consenting adults.

Ruling out Delhi high court’s verdict, the Supreme Court said, only parliament could change Section 377 of the penal code, widely interpreted to refer to homosexual sex. ‘Violation of the law can be punished with up to 10 years in jail,’ the apex court said. The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha stressed that, ‘It is my personal view.’

Earlier, BJP chief, Rajnath Singh and senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had backed the top court judgement and said that BJP will never support ‘unnatural’ homosexuality. Then the sangh parivar fountainhead RSS, had also supported BJP’s stand on the issue. However, then Jaitley said that the debate on the issue is still not over.

Meanwhile, at a separate book launch event, Jaitley said his party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi emerged as a winner despite a sustained campaign against him over the 2012 Gujarat riots in which a section of the media had also targeted him. He was speaking during the launch of Narendra Modi - a victim of manipulations, a book on party’s PM candidate.

‘There was a time when major sections of the media were also involved in targeting him. But he had the capability to go over the head of the media and directly communicate with the people, where your views are believed more than what is being said against you,’ the BJP leader said.
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